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How to Make a Bokashi Bucket for Easy Composting
It goes without saying that composting is amazing, great for the environment and is easy to do. But! There are limitations on what you can and can’t compost in a typical backyard composting bin. That is why bokashi composting is so clutch. Animal products – meat, bones, whole eggs, and dairy – are a big no-no when it comes to traditional composting. For starters, animal products in composting heaps can attract bugs and critters, so that is the first strike against it. The second, much bigger, strike is these animal products can harbor dangerous bacteria like E.coli, which can stay in the composted soil for up to two years and have serious ramifications on what you grow in that soil.
Bummer, right? But don’t give up hope! If you feel like dumping your animal product waste in the garbage is, well, a waste, then I’ve got great news for you! All you have to do is start doing bokashi!
New to composting? Check out the comprehensive beginners guide here.
What is Bokashi Composting?
Fancy to say, easy to do!
So, what is bokashi, exactly?
It gives you the ability to compost your animal products simply and safely. In bokashi, you take these animal products and mix them with an inoculate and press it in a bokashi bucket. With the lid sealed tight, the animal products and inoculate mix to start a fermentation process. I won’t get into the chemistry here, but it’s pretty neat stuff! I have to stress though – you need a bokashi bin to be successful in this process. This can’t be done in a regular composting bin!
And I will point out that bokashi is used for composting, it is a fermentation process that creates compostable material. So meta! We’ll get to more on that later.
What is a Bokashi Bin?
So, what is a bokashi bin and what makes it so crucial from a regular composting bin? For the fermenting process to be effective enough to break down the animal products, it has to be sealed tightly and it has to drain off the leachate, which is the liquid byproduct of the fermentation process.
You can buy a bokashi bucket online, but they can be a little pricey and why spend the money when it’s so easy to make? That’s right! You can make your own bokashi bucket!
How Do You Make a Bokashi Bucket?
So, how do you make a DIY bokashi bin?
It’s a simple and straightforward process that requires minimal tools and very little effort. Here we go!
- Start with two, 5-gallon plastic buckets, one lid and a drill.
- Take one bucket and turn it upside down. Drill 20 to 30 holes in the bottom with a 1/8 or 1/4-inch drill bit.
- Set the drilled bucket into the other bucket.
- So now you have the bucket with holes resting in the bucket that does not have holes. That’s your drainage system!
- Cover the bucket with a tight-fitting lid
- Voila! You’re done!
Check out this video on How to Make Your Own Bokashi Bin
Handy Bokashi Bucket Tips
I lied. I will tell you a little chemistry about the fermenting process as a useful tip. The fermentation is an anerobic process in breaking down these products. Which means, air is bad news. That’s why it’s so important for lid to fit tightly to avoid letting air in when you’re ready to start the fermentation process.
Also, if you want to go nuts, you can a fit a spigot to your bucket for easier draining. It’s totally not necessary, because all you do to drain your bokashi bucket is to lift the inner bucket. Depending on how much you’re fermenting, it could get heavy, though!
How to Use a Bokashi Bucket
Now I’ll finally get to how to use a bokashi bucket!
- Start with a layer of vegetable scraps at the bottom
- Add in a sizeable layer of inoculate – this could be organic grain, bran, rice, dried leaves or sawdust. This is particularly important ingredient! This helps the animal products not smell as it ferments.
- As you have food scraps, add them to the bucket. Just sprinkle another layer of inoculate on top!
- Pressing down on your materials (packing them in tightly) helps!
- Check the bucket for drainage every other day.
- Once it’s nearly full, seal the bucket and let your materials ferment for 10 days. Don’t open the lid! Remember – air is bad!
- Continue to drain the bucket every other day.
This byproduct liquid – also known as bokashi tea – can be disposed of or mixed with water for use in your garden.
If you want to use it in your garden, don’t apply it directly to foliage. The ratio for dilution is 100 parts water to 1 part bokashi liquid. It’s potent stuff!
There you have it! Very simple!
What Do I Do with My Bokashi?
The material you’re creating isn’t finished compost.
You can’t just take it and start planting with it. Instead, you have two choices:
- Add it to your compost bin/pile
- Bury it in your garden or in a trench
This allows the bokashi to continue to breakdown into traditional compost. Burying it into your soil (not directly where plants are growing) allows the nutrients and microbial goodness of the bokashi reach the root of your plants once it’s compost.
Where to Buy a Ready Made Bokashi Bin
Don’t want to make your own? No worries, you can easily buy one on Amazon. Here are some of our favorites.
We love the SCD All Seasons Indoor Bokashi Composter. We’ve personally used one and found it easy to use.
Pick it up on Amazon here—-> Bokashi Composter
Want More Great Content on DIY Composting Projects?
I’m so excited you want to learn more! If you’re interested in bokashi, then you will certainly be interested in vermiculture. Making a worm composting bin is just as simple as a bokashi bucket! I’ve written a detailed guide on how to create your own worm composting bin and how to go about the business of vermiculture. Again, it’s another easy project and is the gift that keeps on giving (and giving and giving)! Not only do you get rich soil, but the byproducts of your bin (worm castings and worm tea) are incredible, too!